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Further Consolidation of Optimization Companies

i2 Technologies is going to be acquired by JDA Software for $346 million, continuing a wave of acquisitions in the optimization world (including ILOG and Dash). While this acquisition stays within the “supply chain optimization” space, it does cut down on the number of independent players. Manufacturing Business Technology makes an excellent point in the dynamics of this:

Ironically, ILOG may have contributed to the demise of several supply chain vendors—including i2—by selling its once-groundbreaking optimization technology to other companies wanting to create packaged systems. With so many so-called supply chain specialists relying on ILOG’s engine as the foundation of their systems, there was less differentiation in the market, and that made it easier for the Oracle’s and SAP’s of the world to move into the supply chain space.

Warrent Buffett has said “In business, I look for economic castles protected by unbreachable moats”. With great integer optimization codes available, the moat around supply chain optimization companies is quite narrow.